I thought I should own up to it; maybe start a rumor or two to enhance my career.
In France, a few years ago, the President at the time was embarrassed to be caught on the back of a moped driven by a bodyguard. Monsieur François Hollande was going to meet his mistress while wearing a motorcycle helmet to shield his identity. It didn’t work. A paparazzi saw him and Europe had a good laugh, but not because Hollande was involved with someone other than his wife. No, it was the ludicrous attempt to hide his actions that made him the butt of ridicule. Monsieur le President! Sur une mobilette! A Paris! Mon Dieu. How déclassé can you get! Past French presidents have all opted for very expensive Citröen automobiles to travel to their extra-curricular activities.
During the Clinton era, French journalists had a jolly time trying to explain Bubba’s actions to their readers. That an American President could be sanctioned for such a benign event as a minor sexual encounter with a young woman, well, that was and remains incomprehensible. To this day, Clinton remains a most popular American in Europe, drawing crowds wherever he goes.
The French, who, aside from President Macron, truly detest Trump and find him the cartoonish exemplification of the Ugly American, are once again trying to understand puritanism. They look at Ms. Storm as an attractive entrepreneur. They can’t quite understand why Trump would lie about their trysts. They note that, in the US press, Ms. Storm has been promoted from a slutty porn actress to the much more socially acceptable director of adult films. They editorialize about the amazing circumstances that have led a director of adult films to be more believable than POTUS.
America has always been a sort of comical giant to the rest of the world. It’s helpful to have a giant on your side. He (or she) can move furniture, carry heavy things and help correct situations that need correcting. On the other hand, the giant can be clumsy and do things wrong. With Trump in power, it’s sort of like watching an amateur juggler working with chain saws. You wince, you close your eyes, you really hope no one gets hurt but Trump is not a skillful performer; often a chainsaw flies into the crowd and decapitates an innocent bystander.
My French friends are worried about the right-wing movement sweeping Europe. The difference between them and my American friends is that the Europeans will vote to change things they find offensive. Denmark, Sweden and Belgium boast voter turnouts in the 80+ percent. The US is a sad 14th in voter turnout with fewer than 58 percent of eligible voters showing up at the polls.
These figures, folks, aren’t fake news. Let’s hope the upcoming elections allow this country to climb in the ratings.
Oh, OK, I confess. I haven’t slept with him.